Browsing by Subject "Urbanization"

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  • Halonen, Jaana I.; Erhola, Marina; Furman, Eeva; Haahtela, Tari; Jousilahti, Pekka; Barouki, Robert; Bergman, Åke; Billo, Nils E.; Fuller, Richard; Haines, Andrew; Kogevinas, Manolis; Kolossa-Gehring, Marike; Krauze, Kinga; Lanki, Timo; Vicente, Joana Lobo; Messerli, Peter; Nieuwenhuijsen, Mark; Paloniemi, Riikka; Peters, Annette; Posch, Karl-Heinz; Timonen, Pekka; Vermeulen, Roel; Virtanen, Suvi M.; Bousquet, Jean; Antó, Josep M. (2021)
    In 2015, the Rockefeller Foundation-Lancet Commission launched a report introducing a novel approach called Planetary Health and proposed a concept, a strategy and a course of action. To discuss the concept of Planetary Health in the context of Europe, a conference entitled: “Europe That Protects: Safeguarding Our Planet, Safeguarding Our Health” was held in Helsinki in December 2019. The conference participants concluded with a need for action to support Planetary Health during the 2020s. The Helsinki Declaration emphasizes the urgency to act as scientific evidence shows that human activities are causing climate change, biodiversity loss, land degradation, overuse of natural resources and pollution. They threaten the health and safety of human kind. Global, regional, national, local and individual initiatives are called for and multidisciplinary and multisectorial actions and measures are needed. A framework for an action plan is suggested that can be modified for local needs. Accordingly, a shift from fragmented approaches to policy and practice towards systematic actions will promote human health and health of the planet. Systems thinking will feed into conserving nature and biodiversity, and into halting climate change. The Planetary Health paradigm ‒ the health of human civilization and the state of natural systems on which it depends ‒ must become the driver for all policies.
  • Soininvaara, Ilppo (2020)
    In this article, I analyze the politics of urbanization and competitiveness-led state spatial transformations through political narratives. By analyzing empirical material, I search for ways of reasoning and rationalities that disclose the dynamics of the depoliticization and politicization of different spatial transformations of urbanization. Based on extensive interviews, I argue that a general understanding of urbanization as an external, global inevitability and as a force prevails among political elites. This key rationality and other sedimented knowledge duly opens up new political debates on the proper political management of urbanization and national adaptation. The order of reasoning is clear: the political elites argue that the perceived inevitability, common good and state of crisis necessitate national spatial transformations in order to secure the competitiveness of the state. As a result, new spatial hierarchies are forming as an adaptive strategy.
  • Estela, F. A.; Sanchez-Sarria, C. E.; Arbelaez-Cortes, E.; Ocampo, D.; Garcia-Arroyo, M.; Perlaza-Gamboa, A.; Wagner-Wagner, C. M.; MacGregor-Fors, Ian (2021)
    Changes in the nocturnal activity of birds during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in a neotropical city. The COVID-19 lockdown provided the opportunity to measure species biodiversity in urban environments under conditions divergent from regular urban rhythms. For 90 days, including weeks of strict lockdown and the subsequent relaxation of restrictions, we measured the presence and abundance of birds that were active at night at two sites in the city of Cali, Colombia. Our results show that species richness of nocturnal birds decreased 40% to 58% during the weeks with more human activity, adding further evidence to the biodiversity responses of the 'anthropause' on urban environments.
  • Tóth, Zsolt; Szlavecz, Katalin; Epp Schmidt, Dietrich J.; Hornung, Erzsébet; Setälä, Heikki; Yesilonis, Ian D.; Kotze, D. Johan; Dombos, Miklós; Pouyat, Richard; Mishra, Saket; Cilliers, Sarel; Yarwood, Stephanie; Csuzdi, Csaba (2020)
    In urban landscapes, humans are the most significant factor determining belowground diversity, including earthworms. Within the framework of the Global Urban Soil Ecology and Education Network (GLUSEEN), a multi-city comparison was carried out to assess the effects of soil disturbance on earthworms. In each of five cities (Baltimore, USA; Budapest, Hungary; Helsinki and Lahti, Finland; Potchefstroom, South Africa), covering four climatic and biogeographical regions, four habitat types (ruderal, turf/lawn, remnant and reference) were sampled. The survey resulted in 19 species belonging to 9 genera and 4 families. The highest total species richness was recorded in Baltimore (16), while Budapest and the Finnish cities had relatively low (5–6) species numbers. Remnant forests and lawns supported the highest earthworm biomass. Soil properties (i.e. pH and organic matter content) explained neither earthworm community composition nor abundance. Evaluating all cities together, earthworm communities were significantly structured by habitat type. Communities in the two adjacent cities, Helsinki and Lahti were very similar, but Budapest clearly separated from the Finnish cities. Earthworm community structure in Baltimore overlapped with that of the other cities. Despite differences in climate, soils and biogeography among the cities, earthworm communities were highly similar within the urban habitat types. This indicates that human-mediated dispersal is an important factor shaping the urban fauna, both at local and regional scales.
  • Haahtela, Tari (2016)
  • Haahtela, Tari; Hanski, Ilkka; Von Hertzen, Leena; Jousilahti, Pekka; Laatikainen, Tiina; Mäkelä, Mika J.; Puska, Pekka; Reijula, Kari; Saarinen, Kimmo; Vartiainen, Erkki; Vasankari, Tuula; Virtanen, Suvi (2017)
  • Sauru, Miska (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Sustainable living, housing, and urbanization are essential themes in Finland and globally. The aim of this study is to determine what is sustainable living in Finland at present and what will it look like towards 2030. The sustainable living concept is evaluated from the perspective of the usage of wood and forest resources in housing in Finland at present and towards 2030 by employing Living Lab approach in data gathering. Living Lab methodology is a relatively new way to collect data and it has not been utilized earlier in the context of wood building and lifestyles. Due to that, the second object of the study is to examine how the Living Lab method works as a data collection instrument and what are the strengths and weaknesses of this method. As a methodological approach of this study, qualitative focus groups discussions were implemented and the data gathering was made two times on sequential years. First time in November-December 2015 and the second time in November-December 2016. According to the results, at present, there are conflicting characteristics in implementing human centered, social centered and nature centered values in life, which towards 2030 may be less controversial as a result of new solutions in infrastructures and wood-based innovations. Fulfillment of sustainable living concept may provide new avenues for innovations and improve quality of life. One interesting detail in the results is that in the discussions concerning sustainable living 2030, rural living gained almost no attention. However, the results of the research show that most important themes of sustainable living in Finland towards 2030 were sustainable construction, renewable energy, urban planning, food cultivation, education, and transportation.
  • Jokimäki, Jukka; Selonen, Vesa; Lehikoinen, Aleksi; Kaisanlahti-Jokimäki, Marja-Liisa (2017)
    Because the amount of urban areas has increased, it is important to investigate the abundance of wildlife species in relation to urban environments. Analyzing the impact of urbanization on the presence of forest-dwelling mammals is of interest due to the possible effects of urbanization on human-wildlife relationships and urban biodiversity. The Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) is a declining forest species, and its occurrence in urban environments has been inadequately studied. The loss and fragmentation of forests due to urbanization may be detrimental for squirrels, whereas the abundant and predictable food resources and the low number of natural predators in urban areas may encourage squirrels to invade towns. We used large-scale data collected by volunteer bird watchers along a 950 km south-north gradient to study whether the winter abundance of squirrels in Finland is dependent on urbanization, while controlling for effects of habitat type, food abundance (spruce cone crop; number of winter feeding sites), predator abundance (northern goshawk, Accipiter gentilis; feral cat Felis catus), season and latitude. We found that squirrel abundance increased with human population density, number of feeding sites and spruce cone crop and decreased with latitude and season. Feral cats showed weak negative connection with squirrel numbers, but there were no effect of goshawks. Relative squirrel abundance was approximately twice as high in urban habitats than in forests. Artificial feeding rather than a low number of predators may attract squirrels in urban environments. Planting spruce trees in urban environments will also benefit squirrels. Our results indicate that urban areas are an important habitat for the red squirrel even along the northern edge of their distribution range, where natural forest areas are still widespread. We conclude also that a citizen science - based bird survey protocol associated with mammal surveys seems to be a good large-scale monitoring method to study the urbanization of squirrels.